Democrats Send School Funding Bill To Rauner

Jul 31, 2017

After some delay Monday, legislative Democrats sent the bill to fund K-12 public schools in Illinois to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

It came after hesitancy, since the Republican Governor vowed to use his veto power to strip some money for Chicago Public Schools. Democrats warned that would put funding for all of Illinois's roughly 850 districts at risk.

Rauner has never revealed specifics of the changes he plans to request, but he has been outspoken about his dislike of SB1’s provisions providing help for paying Chicago Public Schools pensions. CPS is the only school district that pays its own teacher and administrator pensions via the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. The state’s Teacher Retirement System handles all other teacher pensions.

During negotiations, Democratic Sen. Andy Manar said he believed legislators were making progress toward a deal to ensure schools get state funds.

"I think we see progress every step of the way, so I think it's important that the bill not be vetoed by Governor Rauner," he said. "That's one reason why we've held the bill."

But Republican Rep. Jason Barickman on Monday ripped Democrats for what he called a “charade.'' 

"In fact, it seemed as if the Democrats in the room were only interested in poking holes in the process, and they had no sincere interest in negotiating in good faith to come to a bipartisan agreement," he said. "That's very unfortunate."

Many districts are concerned about how long schools can stay open without state money. The House and Senate passed the funding formula in May.

  • Illinois Public Radio's Dusty Rhodes and The Associated Press contributed to this report.